Denny McLain arrested on a fraud beef; sun rises in east

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You may want to sit down for this — and I understand if you choose to simply not believe it — but former Tigers ace Denny McLain was arrested at the Canadian border yesterday on an outstanding warrant related to fraud charges stemming from some bit of unseemliness down in Louisiana.

Yeah, I know. I mean, you’d think that after (a) years of crazy gambling; (b) carrying weapons in violation of his probation; (c) having his foot broken after getting it stomped on by a bookie for failing to pay up, which probably cost the Tigers the 1967 pennant; (d) taking a six figure payoff to fly a fugitive out of the country; and (e) spending many years in prison for  for drug trafficking, embezzlement, and racketeering arising out of a him and his buddies cleaning out a pension fund from a small meat packing business to the tune of $2.5 million that people would wise up and realize that McLain was a victim of circumstance.

But no. Apparently The Man still has it in for baseball’s last 30-game winner. A shame, really.  Especially considering how cool his glasses were back in the day.

If the story of Denny McLain interests you — and really, who doesn’t like train wrecks — check out the fabulously detailed biography of him over at the SABR site by Mark Armour.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.